Health out­reach pro­gram re­ceives $400,000 grant

Record Observer - - Obituaries -

CENTREVILLE — The in­no­va­tive pro­gram de­signed to help cit­i­zens who fre­quently call 911 for non-life-threat­en­ing med­i­cal rea­sons has again been rec­og­nized for its suc­cess — this time with a $400,000 grant from health in­surer CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield.

The Mo­bile In­te­grated Com­mu­nity Health Pro­gram, MICH for short, of­fers free ser­vices to county res­i­dents over the age of 18 who are iden­ti­fied as high risk pa­tients prone to over-use of 911 ser­vices and emer­gency room vis­its.

Those par­tic­i­pat­ing in the pro­gram are of­fered a home visit by a nurse prac­ti­tioner/nurse and a para­medic who as­sess the pa­tient’s needs. The visit may in­clude a re­view of past med­i­cal his­tory, a lim­ited phys­i­cal as­sess­ment, a med­i­ca­tion re­view, home-safety check and health ed­u­ca­tion.

If asked, the health care team may also rec­om­mend re­sources for find­ing a pri­mary care provider and ob­tain­ing health in­sur­ance and give re­fer­rals to other com­mu­nity agen­cies that may be able to pro­vide as­sis­tance. The pro­gram is not a re­place­ment for tra­di­tional home health care or vis­it­ing nurse agen­cies.

Dr. Joseph Ciotola, the county’s health of­fi­cer, was a driv­ing force when the pro­gram was first launched in 2014.

“By meet­ing these pa­tients in their homes and get­ting to know them and their med­i­cal needs, we hope to be able to avert un­nec­es­sary am­bu­lance calls and ad­mis­sions to emer­gency rooms when the call is not ac­tu­ally a med­i­cal emer­gency,” Ciotola said.

Deputy Health Of­fi­cer Jen­nie M. Bur­ris said, “We are ex­cited to have re­ceived this grant from CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield to con­tinue the suc­cess of our Mo­bile In­te­grated Com­mu­nity Health Pro­gram. The MICH Pro­gram is demon­strat­ing pos­i­tive health out­comes in re­duc­ing emer­gency room uti­liza­tion and re­duc­tion of 911 calls. One of the main goals of the pro­gram is to en­able pa­tients to have an ac­tive role in their health and to con­nect with county re­sources.”

Na­tion­wide, EMS sys­tems treat 5 to 10 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion each year in re­sponse to re­quests for emer­gency care; how­ever, less than 3 per­cent of those calls in­volve life-threat­en­ing in­jury or ill­ness, ac­cord­ing to the Cen­ters for Medi­care and Med­i­caid Ser­vices.

In 2014, the Mar yland As­so­ci­a­tion of Coun­ties pre­sented Queen Anne’s County with the 2014 Pres­i­dent’s Healthy Coun­ties Best Prac­tices Award for the MICH pro­gram. The fol­low­ing year it earned the Star of Life Award for Out­stand­ing EMS Pro­gram by the Mary­land In­sti­tute for Emer­gency Medicine.

The pro­gram is made avail­able through the sup­port of Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land Shore Re­gional Health, Mary­land De­part­ment of Health and Men­tal Hy­giene, the county com­mis­sion­ers, and the county’s De­part­ments of Emer­gency Ser­vices and of Health.

The MICH pro­gram will be­gin us­ing tele­health tech­nol­ogy to link high risk pa­tients with Shore Re­gional Health Sys­tem’s Shore Post-Acute Care Clinic. The grant and eval­u­a­tion spe­cial­ists at Ch­e­sa­peake Char­i­ties, a com­mu­nity foun­da­tion, were in­stru­men­tal in help­ing the MICH pro­gram achieve this grant.

For more in­for­ma­tion about the MICH Pro­gram, con­tact 443-262-4515 or 410758-0720 ext. 4515, or visit http://dhmh. mar­health/Pages/mich. aspx.

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